Sr Maria Natalia made her first profession as a Putri Karmel Sister on 16 July 2016 at Kaingaran. Below is her story.
The calling to live a religious life began when I was nine years old.
I recall at that time, I joined my mother and sister for a visit to the church at the Carmelite convent. My sister asked me whether I have any prayer request when we arrived at the convent. There was only one thing on my mind, and that was to be a religious sister, although I did not fully understand what a religious sister was.
During my teenage years, the calling came and went. It disappeared, then it re-surfaced in the year 2009. I was in Form 5 when I felt the quickening and strengthening of the call again. Nevertheless, as a teen, I was also like my peers who did all the worldly things. I was immature and had a weak faith. But I kept the longing close to my heart and at last surrendered it to God.
In 2011, I joined a vocation seminar organised by a religious congregation in my parish. I was drawn to this congregation and had the desire to know more but did not have that chance because after my STPM, I decided to pursue a career. However, I remembered to keep the calling uppermost in my mind.
In 2012, I experienced that God, in His mysterious way, continued to light my path more and more towards His call. I had the opportunity to attend a retreat at the Putri Karmel Monastery in Kaingaran, after which, I felt an extraordinary peace and many of my personal questions were answered there. Since that experience, I was determined to come back to the silence and serenity of the place. So I did, to attend another vocation retreat held there.
During that period, I tried my best to search for the will of God. I encountered challenge after challenge, but they only served to strengthen and purify my heart.
The Sisters’ way of life also strengthened me. I woke up with them as early as 4 am and we were already at the chapel praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, followed by meditation, Mass, adoration, works, etc.
Finally, after discernment, I decided to enter the Putri Karmel Congregation in 2013 at the age of 21. With God’s grace, after three years in this place of silence and serenity, I made my first profession on July 16.
I praise and thank God for this beautiful calling He has gifted me with.